Essay Samle on Mariama Ba Life Story Description

Published: 2024-01-30
Essay Samle on Mariama Ba Life Story Description
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Literature Feminism Writers
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1328 words
12 min read


According to McCarthy, Mariama Ba was born in 1929 in Senegal and Dakar, to be more specific. She was born in a wealthy family where her father, a health minister, was among Senegal's first ministers. Her Muslim grandparents raised her since her mother had died while she was still young. She was raised within strict Islamic virtues, but then she was well educated in French tradition and attended a religious school. She later joined Ecole Normale school around 25 miles from Dakar, where she trained to become a teacher. She became a teacher for twelve years after the year 1947 before she could become an academic inspector. By this time, she was a single mother to nine children after separating from her husband (230).

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Mariama Ba had several achievements in her life. According to De la Cova, she won the Noma Award due to her published content, which became accepted in most countries in Africa. She also wrote a book by the name The Color Purple in the year 1982, which also won a Pulitzer Prize. Later, she started a school, named Mariama Ba boarding school, which was successful enough to accommodate any girl who had hit the academic qualifications, becoming a learning center for students from all the eleven Senegal regions (36). These achievements were, according to that time, heroic for a lady to perform. Being a female leader figure in the form of writing and becoming a feminist even in actions. Most importantly, she was successful in drawing people's attention to considering gender equity through her writing.

As a woman who had had issues with her marital affairs, it was likely that any influential woman would become a feminist and start sympathizing with women having the same kind of suffering. At this point, most facts about Mariama Ba from researched sources show that she became a feminist all round and could spot feminism even at the most unexpected places. According to Latha, Mariama Ba, "So Long a Letter" could depict gender unfairness even in religion, marriage, leadership, education, and so on (23). Her journey was starting in writing, yet she did not notice it since she denied having been a feminist (23). This could only mean that she was beginning the feminist fight even before interpreting what was going on in her mind. Becoming a feminist was motivated by her readers' audience, in the age where writing was appreciated adequately as a form of communication, unlike today, where social media is dominating.

According to McCarthy, Mariama Ba had her first significant step into writing by publishing a French book by the name 'So Long a Letter' in 1979 that became a massive success in Africa. In this book, she had her fame grow far and wide as it got translated into many different languages. The primary focus is on the marriage part, where the Islamic religion and cross cultures allow polygamous marriage. She feels that a woman is not well respected if she is expected to share her husband with another woman and still be happy in marriage (230).

Famous Quotes by Mariama Ba

In her book, 'So Long a Letter,' according to Amissine, she uses a phrase that 'she does not need a woman, she needs a dog.' This phrase symbolizes the levels of gender diversity that humiliate the female gender to imply that men are superior to them. She equates the duties of a wife to the reasons human beings keep dogs at home.

According to Amissine, Mariama Ba mentions that life is flavored by love, and the same love is also the salt for life. This quote can be interpreted both in ordinary life, as well as a feminist in love. For an ordinary life, heartbreaks from a love life can be real salt for life. This means that the most significant pains are a result of love. In a feminist view, love can flavor life, where the involved parties appreciate gender equity. However, it becomes the salt where one is made inferior, and life is spent in a lover's service. She was trying to call on the men to give their wives some independence. She tries to illustrate the women's part in a hiden way that men can put themselves in their female counterparts' shoes.

According to Mariama Ba, man and woman were meant to complement one another. She acknowledges love as imperfect and wishes that the couples could 'melt' into one another and see how good that results. Still, in the feminism perspective, she hopes that the message gives backup support to the rest of the messages. Interpretation of the quote would also mean that she believes in a family setup, the duties of the man and those of the woman should be equitable. An excellent example of this interpretation is where a family setup considers the man's duties as giving commands, whereas the woman's duties are to listen and act accordingly. She also mentions 'melting into one another,' which could also interpret to mean that she would consider a love life without permanent duties. That sometimes, the man could perform the 'wifely' duties, whereas the wife also does the same.

According to Amissine, in the book So Long a Letter, she uses the character of an aged lady who is content with what she has to bring out the view of the overrated period of life. She explains that she saw a lady who told her that death is equally beautiful, just like life is. This makes it hard to contemplate what she is up to but still manages to equate two corresponding periods, showing nothing cant add up. In the same way that death is equally fair to live, a feminist is likely to be suggesting that a woman is also equally important, just as a man is. However, she says it in a beautiful way that makes it hard to interpret the feminism side. It is lovely for every living human being to imagine it being true, just as it is incredible for women to feel equally important to men. She might have had different interpretations of this. All the same, a feminist has many surprises such that this interpretation could also have been in her mind.

Mariama Ba also talks of this eternal woman who wants to arouse interest all the time (Amissine). She claims that even during mourning, she is ready to capture that attention even through seducing. She is angry with women that, unlike men, they sometimes lack composure. She argues feels that it might be a reason that women remain inferior to men' eternaly.' It is in the book So Long a Letter that she makes this comment, where she, being a feminist, has to be neutral and see both sides' good and evil.

Mariam Ba is a woman of her own. She has contributed a lot to the fight towards feminism in Africa, making her a personality worth discussing. She strongly believes in gender equity, as discussed above, and uses her writing audience, and she properly delivers her message. By her excellent history of the 20th-century era, she gets to speak her mind out even after she is long gone.


Amissine, Itang. Feminism and translation: a case study of two translations of Mariama Bâ: Une si longue lettre (So long a letter) and un chant écarlate (Scarlet Song). Diss. University of Pretoria, 2015.

Ba, Mariama, and English Brand New Book Ramatoulaye Fall. "So Long a Letter."

de la Cova, Ana E. Schaller. Secular and Islamic Schooling in Senegal: Reconfiguring Knowledge and Opportunity in Uncertain Times. Diss. Emory University, 2013.

Latha, Rizwana Habib. "Feminisms in an African context: Mariama Bâ's so long a letter." Agenda 16.50 (2001): 23-40.

McCarthy, Jane Ribbens, et al. "Making sense of family deaths in urban Senegal: Diversities, contexts, and comparisons." OMEGA-Journal of Death and Dying 82.2 (2020): 230-260.


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